Guillermo Mota pitched a career-high 4-1/3 innings tonight, facing 14 batters. He gave up three hits, a run, no walks, and struck out four. It was a huge lift for the club after an ineffective Barry Zito was pulled for an injury in the 2nd inning. The Giants jumped ahead thanks to Buster Posey's homer in the 1st, but the D-backs answered quickly and later took the lead. A run in the 6th and two more in the 7th got the Giants back on top and the bullpen did the rest. Freddy Sanchez got the big hit with two outs and the bases loaded in the 7th. Jeremy Affeldt had an impressive 1-1/3, Sergio Romo got two outs on 8 pitches, and Brian Wilson finished it. Darren Ford had his first at-bat (strikeout), and was also picked off after pinch-running for Pat Burrell. But he handled his two chances in the field flawlessly, and despite the circumstances (Andres Torres on the DL) I'm happy to see him get a shot. Brandon Belt had a hit, a walk, and a run scored. Aaron Rowand hit the ball hard four times, got three hits, and worked a walk. Even Mark DeRosa got two hits and scored a run. The Giants hit into FIVE double plays yet managed to win! Joe Saunders was grit personified, but still ran out a 12-hit, 5-run pitching line. I would be remiss not to mention the lovely strike 'em out/throw 'em out double play in the 3rd, when Buster's brilliant throw nailed Ryan Roberts after Mighty Mota whiffed Justin Upton.
Another good game by the Giants. The pitchers allowed only 6 hits and 3 runs, the hitters kept up the pressure all evening, and the fielders made all the plays. Zito hurt himself making a nice grab. I expect he'll recover quickly and be back in the ro' soon, but perhaps miss his next start. There are off-days on the 21st and 25th so they might juggle things a little. Let's hope he finds his groove soon. Madison Bumgarner gets the start tomorrow and it would be nice to see a strong outing. The bats are facing righty Barry Enright. A sweep on the road is a rare event, but a little momentum before the showdown with sizzling Colorado would be great, so I'm feeling greedy.
p.s. Rockies lose, record now 11-3 (Giants 8-6).
p.p.s. You can see me at Through the Fence Baseball doing a weekly Giants wrap called "Grindin' with the Champs." Check it out!
UPDATE: Sunday 0959--Zito placed on DL for first time in his career!! Ryan Vogelsong is his replacement. Info via Twitter/Extra Baggs.